In advance of his WBA ‘interim’ welterweight challenge to Russia’s David Avanesyan – live on BoxNation this weekend, Glynn Evans trawls through the three-weight world champions 22 year career to locate half a dozen nights when the sugar man was at his sweetest.
1) Oscar De La Hoya I, Los Angeles, June 2000
Following a fabulous 32 month reign on the IBF lightweight throne – in which he successfully defended his belt eight times, all by stoppage – the man from Pomona jumped up two divisions to confront Californian rival and the reigning WBC welter boss at the newly opened Staples Center.
Despite the psychological edge of having trumped ‘The Golden Boy’ in a regional Golden Gloves final when they were pre-teen amateurs, the then 28 year old Mosley, undefeated in 34 at the time, entered as a 2-1 betting outsider.
But after a dozen gloriously frenetic but high grade rounds between the two finest box-fighters in the sport, it was the switch hitting Mosley’s speed, mobility and superior gameplan that prevailed.
The judges awarded him a split but merited decision and anointed him as only the sixth fighter in ring history to capture both lightweight and welterweight world titles.
2) Oscar De La Hoya II, Las Vegas, September 2003
Sugar Shane was again a sizeable underdog when the LA rivals reconvened for De La Hoya’s WBC and WBA light-middle straps at the MGM Grand 39 months later.
Mosley entered winless in three – back-to-back decision losses to amateur conqueror Vernon Forrest plus a No Contest with Raul Marquez – while Oscar had shone in four straight world title wins in the interim.
But again the officials sided with Mosley – this time unanimously by identical scores of 115-113 – following 12 cagey rounds, presenting Shane with his third and fourth world titles, spanning four divisions.
The outcome was hotly disputed. ‘The Golden Boy’s’ coach Floyd Mayweather Sr dubbed the judges as ‘blind and senile’ while his promoter Bob Arum bleated that the verdict was ‘bent’. However, Mosley’s guerrilla raids and hurtful body shots influenced the men who mattered.
3) Fernando Vargas II, Las Vegas, July 2006
Remarkably, Mosley was perceived as a fighter in recess, destined for imminent retirement ahead of yet another Golden State derby...and that was almost a decade ago!
The pair previously collided at the Mandalay Bay in sin city five months earlier but that tussle ended contentiously. A grotesque swelling above the eye – courtesy of Mosley’s notoriously wayward head – forced Oxnard’s Vargas to concede in round ten.
The scrap was finely balanced ahead of the inconclusive ending with just a single point splitting the pair on all cards. The controversial conclusion brought a feisty public feud between the fighters’ female partners but Vargas graciously honoured a six figure side bet that he’d waged at the pre-fight press conference.
However, in the encore, Mosley delivered a masterful clinic, utilising his searing speed to pot shot from angles - and win every round on every card - prior to closing out with a precise and potent left hook in round six.
4) Ricardo Mayorga I, Carson, September 2008
Mosley looked all of his 37 years during the opening 35 and a half minutes of this WBA Inter-Continental light-middle bang-up against the potty-mouthed, hard drinking, cigar chomping Nicaraguan wild man at the Home Depot Center.
Though one arbitrator had Mosley five rounds in front, the other two were split one round either way and victory was still up for grabs for both man.
Yet despite looking decidedly average in the previous 11 rounds and supported on aging legs, it was Mosley who summoned the fighting spirit to exact Carpe Diem.
With barely 20 seconds remaining, he put Mayorga on all fours after walking him onto a thumping three shot combo then, with just one second left on the clock, put him to sleep for several minutes with a disturbingly violent left hook.
5) Antonio Margarito, Los Angeles, January 2009
The sinister moustachioed Mexican was commonly perceived as the most menacing hombre in the business following his brutal butchering of the previously unbeaten Miguel Cotto six months earlier.
Mosley, seven years senior and two inches shorter was accorded little hope of surviving - and even less of winning – with bookies offering 4-1 on the sweet one lifting the WBA welter strap on offer before a 20,000 sell-out at the Staples Center.
But Team Mosley assumed a control they were never to release in the changing rooms before the action even started. Vigilant coach Naazim Richardson identified that the Mexican’s hand wraps were coated with a substance that hardened when wet; essentially Margarito’s fists were ‘loaded’!
Once adjustments were made, Mosley didn’t just beat the cheat, he bullied him; concussing him with rights over the top and slaughtering him with scuds to the body. Early in round nine the Mexicans raised the white flag with Margarito slumped on the canvas, a battered broken man.
6) Floyd Mayweather, Las Vegas, May 2010
No one ever came closer to making a dent in the ‘Money’ man’s perfect 49-0 slate than the 38 year old sugarman managed, during round two of their 12 round non-title superfight before a 15,000 sell-out at the MGM Grand.
In the second minute of the session, Mosley shook Mayweather to the bone with an overhand right then buckled his knees and left him wobbling like a weeble with a repeat shot seconds later. Suddenly de-robed of all bravado, Floyd hugged his assailant as if he was his lover until the cobwebs cleared and the bell rescued.
Thereafter, magician Mayweather regrouped and proceeded with overt caution, barely conceding a minute of the remaining 30 to bag a landslide decision.
Nevertheless, Sky Sports commentator Adam Smith called it ‘the biggest crisis of Mayweather’s career’ and father-trainer Floyd Sr conceded he was ‘scared as shit!’ While egomaniac Jr later claimed DeMarcus Corley and Zab Judah both hit him harder, nobody believed him!